FTR reported preliminary trailer orders surged in March to an “impressive” 36,200 units, up 41% from the month before and up 29% March last year. Trailer orders for the past twelve months have totaled 252,000 units.
“This is great news for the trailer market,” Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, said. “Most of the big OEMs were stuck in a holding pattern on orders since the supply chain tightened. The fact they have the confidence now to enter more orders may indicate that supplier deliveries are showing improvement, and labor shortages are abating.”
Indeed, March totals were the highest since December 2020. Most of the major OEM’s registered sturdy numbers showing significant increases versus the past six months. March’s strong order total is expected to raise backlogs over the 200,000-unit mark for the first time since May 2021, the report noted.
“It is uncertain if this level of orders can be sustained. However, it does signal an expectation that build rates could increase later this year,” Ake said. “Because OEMs had their output limited by the supply chain, we estimate that pent-up demand for trailers could be as high as 100,000 units. It will take an extended time for OEMs to catch up with fleet requirements once the supply chain opens up.”